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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Time to Use/Stop Misusing Social Media to Promote Racing

A grandmother is a perfect example of what racing is going against.  Watch the unbridled joy she exhibits upon being presented a symbolic check for winning $40 million in Ontario's Lotto game. 

You may be saying to me "Wait a minute, no one really comes to the racetrack expecting to win $30 million playing the horses, get  realistic", and you would be right.  The odds playing the races are nowhere as unbelievable as the lottery, there is no realistic way you can see payoffs like this.

Then we have slot winners at casinos.  While I have no picture to show you, if you go to your Facebook or Twitter account on the right day, you will find a picture or at least a congratulatory note about someone winning tens of thousands of dollars playing a particular slot game.  You may even find a posting telling you how it's possible to win millions playing their slots.  As you can see here, racinos are smart enough to publicize their big winners.

And if someone wins a million dollars or more on a slot machine, out goes the press release which is often published in newspapers.

So by now, you are ready to ask me "But wait, racing has nothing to promote like this".  Well, Gulfstream Park has their Rainbow Pick-6 but let's put that aside for a moment.  Granted, winning thousands of dollars on a single wager at the racetrack doesn't happen often, but on occasion we have that 'bomb' trifecta or Pick-4 wager which pays  $10,000 or more.  For example, Tuesday evening at Yonkers the late Pick-4 paid $23,421.  Look at Facebook and you will see no mention of it on the Empire City at Yonkers Raceway or the 'plain' Yonkers Raceway page.  No congratulating a particular horseplayer, no announcement that the Pick-4 paid over $23,000.  Nada.  Zilch.  Zippo.

Unfortunately, when it comes to racinos there is little, if any mention of racetrack carryovers or big hits.  Some don't even mention racing at all (Hello Harrah's Philadelphia). Then there is the case of at least one racino that has no presence on Facebook; they can't publicize anything through that outlet (they do have a Twitter account). I have encountered non-racino tracks with no mention of big payoffs either.  For all the good some horsemen associations claim to do, it would be nice if they have a little chat with management about posting some of the larger carryover pools and hits on their social media pages.

Then we have tracks who are proud about having a social media presence where racing is covered.  Don't; having a Facebook page where all you are talking about upcoming stakes and closing dates does not constitute an effective use of social media.  You should be using social media as an open gateway to your retail customers (gamblers).  A good guideline is any story which would be appropriate for the USTA's homepage does not qualify for a posting on your Facebook or Twitter account.  If you want to communicate new stakes and closings to horsemen, then I suggest using a SMS text system is the appropriate way of getting that information to horsemen's smart phones, not Facebook.

I have no problem with some mentioning of upcoming big races in social media, but remember a majority of your customers are just as happy to bet $2,000 claimers if it is a competitive field.  They don't care about who is coming to the track, they want to know about carryovers and big hits.  Most of your visitors to your social media sites are gamblers looking to make a score.  Give them what they want to read to induce them to bet on your product and possibly come out to the track that night..

No, baring the Rainbow Pick Six which is more lottery than anything else, racing may not have a life altering wager (at least until a V75-type wager arrives), but we do have some good payoffs to offer.  However, if social media is not used properly, who's going to know?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Problem #1--Too many track managers have a defeatist attitude and have been that way for so long they don't know how to put together a winning business strategy.

Problem #2--The men and women on the backside have too much authority through their associations. They seem to control the race conditions, the purses and which horses and trainers get to race there. It can make for a mediocre offering to the fans while fattening the wallets of the horsepeople who are favored. It's a bit like a union telling GM it will design all the cars, decide what models to build each week and and come up with the sticker price. That's not a slam on unions, but if the horsemens associations want to run a race track they should buy one.

Problem #3--The racinos don't see much value in cultivating horse bettors. If they're going to work to get new customers, they want them in the casino. We can bet 10 cents on a superfecta and win a $1,000 or more. You can't win that much in the casino for a dime, but racino owners won't point that out.